$1.9M available for Hawaii farmers under micro-grant program

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is now accepting applications for the Micro-Grants for Food Security Program.

The grant program provides support for small-scale gardening, herding and livestock operations to help produce food in areas that are insecure.

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“Through the pandemic, there has been an increase in backyard and small-scale farming which has helped families to economically supplement their basic food needs,” Gov. David Ige said in a news release on Monday, March 8. “This grant program presents a unique opportunity to support subsistence agriculture in Hawaii.”

A total of $1.9 million is available for this grant program. The maximum award for an individual is $5,000 for a 12-month project and $2,500 for a six-month project. Religious organization, food banks and food pantries may also apply for a grant.

Applications and proposals must be emailed to hdoa.addrfp@hawaii.gov by 12 p.m. on April 23. Information on the Request for Proposals may be found on the Hawaii State Procurement website.

Examples of the types of activities that may be funded under this grant include:

  • Small-Scale Gardening – purchase tools or equipment, soil, seeds, plants, canning equipment, refrigeration, composting equipment, towers, hydroponic and aeroponic farming.
  • Small-Scale Herding and Livestock Operations – purchase animals, buy, erect or repair fencing for livestock, activities or supplies associated with setting up or equipping a slaughter and processing facility, including purchasing mobile slaughterhouses.
  • Expanding Access to Food and Knowledge of Food Security – create or expand avenues for the sale of food commodities – includes paying for shipping of purchased items related to growing or raising food for local consumption.

“Small-scale farmers and food gardens are often left out of federal funding programs,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “In these cases, we know that a little support can go a long way to help food security for our families and communities.”

Those who are interested in applying may attend a Zoom webinar on March 16 at 10 a.m.

  • Meeting ID: 983 7226 2871
  • Passcode: HDOAMDB

A recording of the webinar will also be posted here.

Awards are expected to be announced in May, with the first disbursement of funds expected in July.

Questions regarding the application process may addressed to HDOA’s Market Development Branch at (808) 973-9595 or email: hdoa.addrfp@hawaii.gov

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